Diversification and productive activity


Sreyashi Datta, Academic Content Writer at Edumartz

Diversification has two components: changing cropping patterns and shifting labour from agriculture to various related businesses (livestock, poultry, fisheries, etc.) and the non-agricultural sector. 

The necessity for diversification stems from the fact that relying solely on farming for a living carries a higher risk. Diversification into new sectors is required not just to minimise risk in the agriculture industry, but also to give productive and sustainable living alternatives to rural people. The Kharif season sees the greatest concentration of agricultural employment operations. However, it is difficult to obtain work during the Rabi season in locations with insufficient irrigation infrastructure. As a result, growth into other industries is critical for providing more meaningful work and realising better levels of income for rural people in order to overcome poverty and other difficulties. As a result, there is a need to focus on associated activities, non-farm employment, and other growing sources of income, even if there are several other choices for sustaining sustainable livelihoods in rural regions.

Because agriculture is already congested, a large section of the growing labour population must seek other work in non-farm industries.

The non-farm economy is divided into numerous areas; some have dynamic links that allow for healthy growth, while others are in subsistence, low productivity scenarios. Agro-processing industries, food processing industries, the leather industry, tourism, and so on are among the active sub-sectors. Traditional home-based businesses such as ceramics, crafts, and handlooms are examples of sectors with promise but a severe lack of infrastructure and other assistance. The majority of rural women work in agriculture, whilst males often seek non-farm jobs. Women have recently started seeking non-farm occupations.


Animal Husbandry:

The agricultural community in India employs a mixed crop-livestock farming system, with cattle, goats, and fowl being the most often kept species. Livestock farming increases financial stability, food security, transportation, fuel, and nutrition for the family while not interfering with other food-producing activities. Today, the livestock sector alone employs approximately 70 million small and marginal farmers, as well as landless labourers. A high proportion of women work in the cattle industry.

Poultry has the highest proportion (61%), followed by other products. Other creatures on the bottom rung include camels, asses, horses, ponies, and mules. In 2019, India has over 303 million animals, including 110 million buffaloes. Over the previous three decades, the Indian dairy sector has performed admirably. Between 1951 and 2016, milk output in the nation grew around tenfold. This is mostly due to the effective deployment of ‘Operation Flood.’ It is a system in which all farmers pool their milk produced according to different grades (depending on quality), which is then processed and distributed to urban centres via cooperatives. Farmers are guaranteed a reasonable price and revenue from the supply of milk to urban markets under this arrangement. As previously said, Gujarat state is regarded as a successful storey in the effective implementation of milk cooperatives, which has been replicated by many other states. Major milk-producing states include Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Meat, eggs, wool, and other byproducts are also growing as significant productive areas for diversification.



The water body is revered by the fishing community as a “mother” or “provider.” Water bodies such as the sea, seas, rivers, lakes, natural aquatic ponds, streams, and so on are therefore an essential and life-giving supply for the fishing community. Fisheries development in India has progressed significantly as a result of gradual increases in budgetary allocations and the adoption of new technology in fisheries and aquaculture. Currently, inland fish production accounts for around 65 per cent of overall fish production value, with the marine sector accounting for the remaining 35 per cent (sea and oceans). Currently, overall fish output amounts to 0.9% of total GDP. West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu are the major fish producing states in India. A high proportion of fish worker families are impoverished. Some of the key issues confronting the fishing community today are rampant underemployment, poor per capita incomes, a lack of labour mobility to other sectors, and a high percentage of illiteracy and indebtedness. Women make up over 60% of the workforce in export marketing and 40% of the workforce in internal marketing, despite the fact that they do not participate in active fishing. To address the working capital requirements for marketing, there is a need to expand loan facilities for fisherwomen through cooperatives and SHGs.



Because of its varied temperature and soil conditions, India has embraced the cultivation of a wide range of horticulture crops, including fruits, vegetables, tuber crops, flowers, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, and plantation crops. These crops serve an important role in supplying food and nutrition, as well as solving job issues. The horticulture sector produces roughly one-third of the value of agricultural production and 6% of India’s GDP. India has emerged as a world leader in the production of a wide range of fruits, including mangoes, bananas, coconuts, cashew nuts, and a variety of spices, and is the world’s second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables. Many farmers’ economic conditions have improved, and horticulture has become a method of improving life for many underprivileged groups. Flower picking, nursery care, hybrid seed production and tissue culture, fruit and flower propagation, and food processing are all high-paying jobs for women in rural regions. Though our cattle population is fairly outstanding in terms of numbers, its productivity is rather poor when compared to other countries. To increase production, better technologies and the promotion of desirable animal breeds are required. Improved veterinary care and financial facilities for small and marginal farmers, as well as landless labourers, will increase the number of sustainable livelihood possibilities available through livestock production. Fish production has already grown significantly.

However, issues such as overfishing and pollution must be monitored and handled. Welfare programmes for the fishing community must be reoriented to provide long-term advantages and the sustenance of livelihoods. Horticulture has evolved as a viable sustainable livelihood alternative that should be heavily promoted. Improving its function necessitates investments in infrastructure such as energy, cold storage systems, marketing connections, small-scale processing facilities, and technological advancement and dissemination.


Other Alternate Livelihood Options: 

Many sectors of the Indian economy have been transformed by information technology. There is widespread agreement that information technology can play a significant role in attaining sustainable development and food security in the twenty-first century. Using adequate information and software tools, governments may identify regions of food insecurity and vulnerability so that action can be done to prevent or lessen the possibility of a disaster. It also has a good influence on agriculture since it may transmit information on developing technology and its uses, pricing, weather and soil conditions for producing various crops, and so on. Though IT is not a change catalyst in and of itself, it may serve as a vehicle for unlocking the creative potential and knowledge buried in society. It also has the potential to create jobs in rural regions. Experiments with information technology and its application to rural development are being conducted in several locations in India.

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